The Tulip Driven Life Podcast

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Oerken Tree: A Myth Reflecting the True Myth of Christianity

By: Thomas F. Booher

To get The Oerken Tree as an E-Book go here.

To get more details into the world of Eskathoer and peak into the mind of the author, as well as to stay updated on the book and the series, like the Facebook page here.

C.S. Lewis has called Christianity the "true myth." Here is a bit of context to help us understand what he means (you can find the quote here):

Now the story of Christ is simply a true myth: a myth working on us the same way as the others, but with this tremendous difference that it really happened: and one must be content to accept it in the same way, remembering that it is God’s myth where the others are men’s myths: i.e., the Pagan stories are God expressing Himself through the minds of poets, using such images as He found there, while Christianity is God expressing Himself through what we call 'real things'.

As Christians, we are called to magnify His story, the story of redemption, for His glory. The gospel must be proclaimed to the ends of the earth, and His majestic attributes are to be praised in song, in dance, in art, in poetry and even in myth, or fiction. Scripture, after all, is a story, the greatest story ever told. But it is no mere fairy tale, not because it isn't fanciful in places, full of drama, or grand in scope, but because it is the one true story, the story from which all other stories, including fairy stories, draw inspiration and find ground for significance.

Given this, it is the duty of believers to reflect the one true story of Christianity with our own well crafted stories. Stories which explore the vastness of humanity, of God, and of the cosmos. We glorify God in our story telling, not by sticking a Bible verse onto our fiction, but by writing beautiful fiction that reflects reality. In essence, we tell the truth through stories, and we do that by reflecting the one true story which God has given to us in Scripture. Our Christian worldview, our understanding of reality, is shaped by Scripture alone, and thus our stories, if they are to be Christian and reflect the glory of God, must have real correspondence to our Christian worldview. This doesn't mean we cannot write about dragons or dwarfs, but it does mean that even dragons and dwarfs will fit into a story that reflects the gospel story of cosmic redemption, of good triumphing over evil, of man's salvation from their own depravity by a powerful yet gracious and sovereign Lord who has identified with us by becoming like us. It is not that all our stories will necessarily broadcast the full arc of redemption, nor is it that our stories will necessarily have a character who is analogous to the God-Man Christ Jesus, who becomes incarnate, lives sinless, is dead, buried, and rises again on the third day. Just the same, a need for redemption will be understood and displayed in some way in our stories, or else the lack of such an understanding in our story-worlds will only lead to greater despondency and wickedness in our stories, because we know from our real and fallen world that a world that denies its need for redemption is a world given over to its rebellion and wickedness.

Too often Christian fiction stories claim they are like Lewis's Narnian Chronicles or Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, yet almost always that is not the case. They do not have the writing skill, the beauty and eloquence of style, as either Tolkien or Lewis. Perhaps that can be forgiven knowing that Lewis and Tolkien are both giants in their fields, but the problems run deeper. The stories miss the rich theology which Tolkien and Lewis displayed in their fiction works. Not that everything they had to say was biblical, on the contrary, but they managed to nail the key things in powerful ways through the medium of fiction, and they didn't let their doctrinal peculiarities rear their ugly head too often. Today most Christian fiction can hardly be said to be theological at all. Sure, some deity may be presented, but the theology is severely underdeveloped. Perhaps that is a reflection of a lack of knowledge of God and a lack of interest in the deep things of God. In short, while Lewis and Tolkien presented a high, holy, omnipotent and majestic, even complex God, today's Christian writers present God as impotent, sorrowful, limited, and common. Therefore, there is no grandeur, no true majesty to these stories, because they depict a story of redemption that is less than grand, less than all-encompassing and is not tightly in alignment with God's redemption story.

To be blunt, our Christian fiction stories do not well represent the good, the true, and the beautiful these days, particularly in the realm of science fiction and fantasy, which were Tolkien and Lewis's old stomping grounds. Some have tried to fill this void and have claimed to do so, but in my estimation most all of them, with perhaps one or two exceptions, have fallen tremendously short.

The Oerken Tree is a modest attempt at filling this void by implementing quality story telling within a rich and developed fantasy world that has connections to our world, most notably in relation to the biblical understanding of the fall of man and the curse on all creation as a result. There is a great cosmic clash between good and evil, between a pristine, unfallen world called Eskathoer, and a wicked fallen world, our planet Earth. It involves fallen men and women who long to live in this utopic world of Eskathoer, and the drastic measures they will take to get there and stay there. It asks the question, "What happens if an unfallen planet, with unfallen human-like beings, were to be exposed to the fallen sons of Adam and daughters of Eve?" What would happen to the planet, to its culture, to its people? How can sinful man be prevented from reaching Eskathoer and corrupting its inhabitants? And now that one named Brutus of Earth has reached Eskathoer, how can he be persuaded to quietly leave such a beautiful, wonderful place before his corruption taints the whole planet? The inner struggle within Brutus, his temptations and lusts, are wrestled with in a realistic (meaning true to Scripture) manner, and three Christian siblings who are summoned to Eskathoer to persuade Brutus to leave peaceably are also developed and presented in a true-to-life fashion. There are colorful characters from Eskathoer, including an elderly couple, Amos and Amy, who drive a flying Studebaker, a tobacconist named Froodly Frisber from Puddle Bottom East, and Mortimer T. Sneekums, an eccentric taxi driver who has a habit of falling asleep and is a bit naive. There is a sport called Greenchnik, meat called Yank, and transportation via magnerail. There are distinguished men in mustard yellow suits, who reside in a building called Yellow House.

Most importantly, however, there are Oerken leaves which have incredible power that can be wielded for great good or great evil. These leaves have been found on both Eskathoer and Earth, and the link between the two planets is a mystery waiting to be unraveled.

I hope this spattering of details has whetted your appetite to read The Oerken Tree. I am happy to announce that, until Thursday, it is available on Amazon for free as an E-Book download. My Dad has written something that I believe bears the marks of the good, the true, and the beautiful because it presents righteousness as desirable and wickedness as despicable, it presents a myth that is based on the true myth of Christianity, and the story presented is well crafted and detailed in both its breadth and depth. It is an admirable piece of fiction, and it teaches us the truth about our world in beautiful ways. Therefore, it brings glory to God and can bring joy to His saints.

So having said all that, I think The Oerken Tree is the first book in a series that every Christian should be seriously interested in.    

To get The Oerken Tree as an E-Book go here.

To get more details into the world of Eskathoer and peak into the mind of the author, as well as to stay updated on the book and the series, like the Facebook page here.